How To Make Hummingbird Food

Hummingbird Food Calculator + DIY Nectar Recipe & Tips

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Hummingbird Nectar Calculator

We, avid bird watchers, adore the graceful presence of hummingbirds in our gardens. Their dipping, diving, and fluttering capture our attention and our hearts. So, naturally, we want to ensure our feathered friends have everything they need to maintain their energy levels while visiting us.

They need a lot of energy to power their aerial acrobatics. Did you know a hovering hummingbird burns more energy than any other bird or mammal, so they need a steady diet of natural nectar.

You can buy commercial hummingbird feed, or why not make your own?

Hummingbird Food Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide

What You Will Need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups of hot water
  • A clean, empty bottle or container
  • A funnel (optional)


  1. Boil 4 cups of water and pour into a clean bottle or container.
  2. Add 1 cup of sugar and stir until completely dissolved.
  3. Let the mixture cool completely before adding it to your favorite hummingbird feeder.
  4. If you’re using a funnel, pour the nectar into the feeder. If not, carefully pour it in, making sure not to spill any.

And that’s it! Simple, right?

Your hummingbird friends will thank you for your efforts.

Can You Make Hummingbird Food With Cold Water?

Yes, you can!

However, boiling the water first will help to dissolve the sugar more completely. It also sterilizes the nectar, which is important if you are concerned about the quality of your water.

If you choose to make your nectar with cold water, it will take longer for the sugar to dissolve. Just be patient and stir until it’s thoroughly combined.

A Few Hungry Hummingbird Tips:

  • Use a 1-part ratio of sugar to 4 parts water, no matter how much nectar you’re making.
  • Never use honey or artificial sweeteners, as they can be harmful to hummingbirds.
  • Store extra nectar in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • Change the nectar every 3-5 days, or sooner if it starts to turn color.
  • Clean your plastic or glass hummingbird feeder regularly with hot water (soapy). Rinse well and allow to air dry.
  • Don’t use any dyes or colorants in your fresh hummingbird food. Birds don’t need them, and they could transfer harmful chemicals.

What Can I Feed Hummingbirds Besides Sugar Water?

How To Make Hummingbird Food
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

While nectar makes up a large portion of a hummingbird’s diet, it is not the only component.


These busy birds will also eat small insects and spiders. You can purchase special feeders that hold ripe fruit pieces, attracting small insects such as fruit flies.

While you can purchase feeder insects from pet stores, such as mealworms and crickets, many of these are too large for hummingbirds to eat.

You can also grow insect-attracting plants such as dill, fennel, and cosmos in your garden to provide a natural food source for hummingbirds.


Ripe fruit on your feeders can attract small insects, and these nectar-hungry birds may also enjoy the fruit juices themselves.

Suitable fruits for hummingbirds include:

  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mango
  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Oranges

Just remember to change the fruit daily so that it does not spoil and attract other animals to your feeder.


Bodies of water like birdbaths and ponds also bring in more small insects. These should be a staple in any birdwatcher’s garden. Hummer friends—as well as all bird species—appreciate a safe, clean water source.


While not technically food, many birds, including hummingbirds, require small pieces of grit or sand to help them grind up their food in their gizzard.

Scientists have also found that this is how hummingbirds get their calcium requirements (especially breeding female hummingbirds).

You can provide this by putting out a dish of clean, fine sand, gravel, or ash.

FAQs About Hummingbird Food

How To Prevent Hummingbird Food From Leaking?

If you boil the sugar/water mixture before filling your feeder then allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before filling the feeder.

This is very important especially for a feeder with plastic threads.

If you don’t cool the syrup first, the heat will cause the threads of the feeder to expand.

The space now created in the loose-fitting threads will allow your hummingbird food to leak out.

Here is another very helpful tip for preventing leakage.

As you tighten the syrup holder (while it is inverted of course!) to the base of the feeder, do not over tighten. As soon as you feel it catch, stop! Our natural instinct is to “tighten-it-up” in the hope of preventing a leak. But if it is too tight then the threads become stripped and leaking occurs.

You will be amazed at how well both these tips work to stop the most aggravating problem of the syrup mixture leaking.

What Kind of Sugar Should I Use For My Homemade Hummingbird Food?

It is best to use refined white sugar. Avoid any raw sugars (unprocessed) like brown sugar or sweeteners such as syrups.

Is It Ok To Feed Hummingbirds Sugar Water?

Yes, it is. Sugar water provides the energy that these beautiful birds need to fly and maintain their body temperature.

How Often Should I Change Hummingbird Nectar?

You should change the nectar every 3-5 days, or sooner if it starts to turn a different color. Wash your feeder with a mild detergent, like dish soap.

Do I Need to Boil Sugar Water for Hummingbirds?

No, you don’t need to boil sugar water for our hummer friends. However, boiling the water will help to dissolve sugar quicker.

Can I Use Tap Water to Make Hummingbird Food?

Yes, you can use tap water to make hummingbird food. However, it’s a good idea to boil it or let it sit for 24 hours before using it. This will allow any chlorine to dissipate.

Final Thoughts

Making your own hummingbird food is quick, easy, and economical. Plus, it’s a great way to attract these beautiful creatures to your yard. So why not give it a try?

Now that you know how to make your own batch of hummingbird nectar, there’s no excuse not to have these feathered friends flitting around your yard! So, get busy with your bird feeders -your hummingbirds will be better for it.

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